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Neil Harris hails Cambridge’s attitude in first win as boss against Blackpool

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Dec 2023

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Neil Harris was delighted with Cambridge’s attitude after securing his first win since taking over as Mark Bonner’s replacement.

Cambridge came from behind through Elias Kachunga and Gassan Ahadme’s penalty to beat Blackpool 2-1, having earlier gone behind to a Jordan Rhodes header. Harris’ side held on despite Paul Digby’s late red card.

“I can’t praise them enough, for not just today’s result but large parts of the performance,” Harris said afterwards.

“It’s about personality and character to get three points, and we showed that.

“It was a scrappy performance at times, but a battling performance, I’d say a Cambridge United performance in my opinion. The week in front of it was first class.

“Momentum is a key word. Today we certainly wanted a positive out of it, a positive result was the primary target, but if not then a really positive performance to carry that momentum.

“To get a really strong performance, to win the game like we did, again in adversity like last week from two down to get a point, today down to 10 men to see the game out, I credit my players. That shows I’ve got character in that changing room.

“Momentum carries for another week to Friday night. We’ve got a huge game on Friday night. I’ve said to the boys WNG – win the next game mentality is our work. My focus now is on Exeter already.

“To carry that momentum, to get three points from my first game here at the Abbey as Cambridge United manager, I can’t be more privileged and proud.”

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley expressed his disappointment at his team’s display after being pegged back.

“At 1-0, we were in control of the game, for an away team. We were comfortable, but the two goals that we conceded were really poor goals,” he said.

“Both goals were really questionable in terms of decision-making from the referee. The first one’s a foul, a clear foul and he’s standing right next to it. I’m not sure why he doesn’t give it. The second one’s a clear handball and he misses it again.

“Having said that, with two passes they’re clean through on our goal on both occasions. We were far too open in those moments. From being 1-0 and in control of the game, we give a team that’s (in their) first home game for the new manager, we gave them a lift.

“Then they have something to hold onto in the second half. We showed an inability in the final third to create enough meaningful opportunities to get back into the game.

“If you’re not at your best you’ve got to try and pick up something on the road and we haven’t done that today.”

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